After a great flight in Air Astana’s 767 business class, I was curious to see how their regional business class product compared (I had already found out their domestic lounge is quite disappointing). The ~590 mile, 80 minute flight between Almaty and Astana was operated by an A321. It certainly wasn’t quite as new as Air Astana’s gorgeous 767s, but still very nice.
I was surprised by how premium heavy the configuration was, as the plane had 28 business class seats, spread across seven rows in a 2-2 configuration.
The seats were roughly similar to what you’d find in domestic first class in the US, with decent legroom and good padding.
The seats also had footrests, which is a nice touch.
There were pre-departure beverages, including champagne (they didn’t offer champagne pre-departure on the previous flight, presumably because they didn’t want to pay taxes on it).
There were printed menus for the flight, which is impressive for a true shorthaul.
After takeoff drinks and almonds were served.
Then there was an impressive three course meal, including salad, a very good salmon main course, and then a lemon dessert.
I had a coffee to finish off the meal.
The crew on this flight was also really friendly. I wasn’t as impressed with the friendliness of the crew on the previous flight, though this crew was friendlier and extremely attentive.
The cabin ended up being two thirds full. What’s a bit odd is that the day before my flight there were no other seats occupied in business class on the seatmap (the bulkhead seats on the left are always blocked). I’m not sure if business class passengers in Kazakhstan often just don’t select seats, if they just upgrade a lot of people day of, or what.
There were at least a couple of Hispanic pilots in business class, based on the fact that they had crew tags and flight bags. I only mention that because the captain on my Seoul to Almaty flight was Mexican, so it seems like they have a sizable Spanish-speaking pilot presence there. Fascinating!
I’ve been very impressed by Air Astana, so maybe next time I return to Kazakhstan I’ll have to try SCAT. 😉
Overall Air Astana is a nifty little airline.
Stay tuned, as I’ll have a more detailed trip report soon!